Having discolored teeth can cause embarrassment in a child, especially through the awkward years. A clean, bright and ‘white’ smile can boost self-esteem, as well as encourage children to maintain better oral health.

In children, there are a number of causes for tooth discoloration that can be generally broken down into 2 major categories:

External Causes

  • Inadequate brushing and poor dental hygiene that causes plaque to build up
  • Food and drink stains (pigments)
  • Medications containing iron, such as vitamin supplements
  • Lighter spots when braces are removed due to n decalcification of enamel
  • Trauma and infection on a baby tooth that leads to spot discoloration on a permanent tooth


Internal Causes

  • Tooth trauma and/or nerve damage
  • Tooth decay
  • Mom taking tetracycline during pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Excessive fluoride from powdered or liquid concentrate infant formula mixed with fluoridated water
  • Medical condition that interferes with teeth development during pregnancy or infant’s early years of life


Should I whiten my child’s teeth?

The best way to handle discoloration is to try to avoid it in the first place. Professional cleaning and good daily dental hygiene go a long way in preventing or removing normal tooth discoloration.

Brush Twice a Day

Brush at least twice a day (morning and evening) with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Use an ADA-approved kid’s toothpaste that contains a mild abrasive if necessary. For children under the age of 3, until they learn to spit, use only a rice grain-sized smear of toothpaste.

Visit Dentist Twice a Year

Visit your pediatric dentist twice a year for a professional exam and cleaning.

Avoid Certain Foods

Avoid foods that stain. Offenders can include dark-colored fruit juices and sodas, tea, popsicles, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, tomato sauce, blueberries, and beets.

Use only water in sippy cups.

Use only water in sippy cups.

Tooth whitening products include:

  • Over the counter tooth whitening products – whitening toothpaste or whitening strips.
  • Professional whitening procedure – custom dental trays, in-office professional bleaching, laser whitening.
  • More permanent measures for teeth whitening can include enamel tooth veneers or porcelain crowns.


Contact Smile Wonders

At Smile Wonders, we like to wait until adolescence to perform teeth whitening, until after at least four front upper adult teeth have come in. We begin with a thorough cleaning and spot treatment, and then progress to using our EPIC™ X diode laser and/or Waterlaser™.